Guangxi Province's

THE SOUTH

by Tam Chiwai, HK (March 00)

 

Note from Passplanet : This section is a contribution from a backpacker (hence the different presentation) and includes a number of localities along an itinerary running from Beihai in Guangxi Province to magnificent Yuan Yang in Yunnan Province .  This area see few backpackers so an adventurous spirit and some time ahead are recommended. Apparently, it is worth the little effort !


Beihai
by Tam Chiwai

Comments ? Beaches in China are not the same as in Thailand, so don't expect too much. There is not much to see in Beihai. Unless if you are heading to Hainan Island or are desperate for a swim, I think it's not worth the effort.

How to reach ? There is a bus from Guilin everyday at 21:00, RMB 138, take 7 hrs, a very clean bus. The only disadvantage is you arrive at 4am. But the day in Beihai start very early or can I say…it end pretty late??!! You will still find people in the street and food stand outside the bus station. You got a good chance to see the real life of the city. In Bei Bu Wen square, you will see hundred people practicing martial arts already, while the day get brighten up. People go to work or school and the city get real busy.

Where to stay ? There are 2 bus stations on Bei Bu Wen road. In between there are many guest house which they don't mind taking foreigners. Just go, ask and take your pick. Price around RMB 15-30 for a room.

The beaches ? Silver beach is about 15 mins from town, bus no.3 will get you there. Couple of guest house there, but since transports are quite frequent, better stay in town and check out the night life. There is an entrance fee for the beach RMB 15. / There is another beach on the other end, bus no.5 will get you there in 15 mins. Free entrance, beach is ok, has a food street at night, quite develop, many hotels around.

Tip ? You can buy a bus card if you plan to stay a bit longer and use a lot of bus.  You won't need to keep a lot of coins and with card they charge less for each ride.

At night ? Bei Bu Wen square seem to be the hot spot at night. You will see old people sing Chinese opera there, young people sing karaoke in the cafe on the other side,... Night market is around the corner, very busy. / For sea food, walk or take a taxi to the sand island on the water front in the evening. Many restaurant will suit your taste.

E-mail ? Go to the telecom office, RMB 10/hr.

How to leave ? Boat to Hainan island everyday at 18:00. Bus no.2 will get you to the Harbour. / Same Harbour to Wai Zhuo island, take off at 08:30 & return at 15:00 the same day (RMB19 for 3rd class, RMB21 for 2nd class, one way). You can stay at the island if you want, couple of local hotel charge RMB 20/bed, turn right from the Harbour along the only street.  Not much to talk about here, a volcanic island but you won't feel much of a volcano, only sight is an old cathedral about 7 km from town, you can walk or take a tuk tuk. Cheng Tang is a small stone village, all the house are build with big stones. The cathedral is a mini scale model of Notre Dame of Paris, it look funny with all those Chinese writing on the wall. You can visit inside for RMB 5.

Backpacker's Tips :  Mark Rowlatt, UK (Dec 03)
« The harbours (& there are at least 6 of them!!) are extremely photogenic. Jammed to the gills with beaten-up, battered old boats & the water-side streets inhabited by various propeller makers, potters, boat & ship-builders, coal merchants &, of course, sea-food processors. Very friendly people & take lots of film!! If you happen to be around Guilin or Yangshuo, one of the English maps of Guangxi you can buy there has a big map of Beihai which will really help you get around. Bus No 3 (Y1/2 ordinary/a/c) goes to Silver Beach. From there, a walk west will take you to another slightly remoter beach & on to a harbour absolutely jam-packed with rickety old boats next to what looks like an abandoned holiday camp!! There's also a harbour & lots of activity just north of the main bus stations. Going rate for a basic room is now about Y30-40.»

 

Shangsi by Tam Chiwai

Comments ? A pleasurable little town to stop over between Beihai & Ningming. They do have some sight around the area, like an hot spring, couple of waterfalls & a forest park, but it will involve a lot of transport and leg work since it's still not developed for tourism. If you do have time, go for it ! There is only 1 main street in town, full of food stand at night, interesting market at day time.

How to reach ? One bus a day at 06:30 from Bei Hai, RMB 22, take 6hrs. If you miss this bus, take a bus to Qinzhou.  From there many bus to Shangsi.

Where to stay ?  Opposite the bus station on the right, Renmin Fandian, RMB16 for a room

Backpacker's Tips :  Mark Rowlatt, UK (Dec 03)
« Shangsi is also known as Shiwan. Forest Park is about 35kms from Shangsi. You can get there by taking a minibus from behind the market. (Turn right outside the bus station & walk 10 mins to where you see lots of tuk-tuks. Turn right here down the side-street & walk through the market to the other side. On the opposite side of the road diagonally left is a small minibus station. The drivers will ask Y50 for a charter, so just wait for others to show up. The minibus serves the villages en route, so you shouldn't have to wait long.) They go when full (8 people) & it costs Y5. There are now 2 brand new hotels at the park; Y50 dorm bed, Y80 to 250 for single/doubles. Entry fee to the park is Y20 & there are loads of trails, some of them requiring overnight camping for which you need a permit from the park office.
Buses from Qinzhou cost Y8 & take about 1 hour. To Chongzuo, there are buses about every 2 hours till early afternoon (Y16, 3 hours).
Many places to stay. Turn right out of the bus station & walk about 400m. Xin Yaun (sic) Lu Guan is about 6 or 7 doors down on the right after you cross a side-street. Small but comfy singles with TV, fan WC & 24 hour hot water are Y25. The Renmin Fandian is now Y20 for a big, basic double with fan & TV but there's no shower.»

 

Ningming by Tam Chiwai

Comments ? A pleasurable little town with a beautiful cliff painting on the Ming river.

How to reach ? Bus from Shangsi leave at 08:40 & 13:30 , 130km, take 4hrs and charge RMB 13.5.

Where to stay ? Mei Gui hotel (??), turn left from the bus station, left again on the 1st corner, 2 mins from the station, RMB 20/bed, but they will let you take the whole room for RMB 30, carpeted floor, private bathroom, 24hr hot water, TV…best deal!

At night ? There are so many food stand at night, karaoke seen like the most popular thing to do here, every stand have their own karaoke like an open air concert.

What to see in the area ? Pang Cheung (??), at Vietnam border only 1 hr away from town, but you can forget about it. // Hua Shan ( ??) The cliff painting was discover in 1954.  Expert said it was there over 2000 years. In an over 8000m sq. area, you will see human figure, animal, musical instrument, weapon, boat…in red color. The biggest figure is more than 3m in size. So far no one can tell for sure the reason for those painting, some say it is for Fung Shui reason, some say it is for worship,... Whatever, just use your own imagination.  From town you take a tuk tuk to train station, get off before the station just after the bridge, on the left side of the street, there is an office will sell you boat ticket. RMB 80/boat for whole day, it can hold up more than 4 people. The boat depart any time you come to the office, but you have to take another tuk tuk to the landing place 5 mins from the office, where you have to pay RMB 8 for the landind fee. While you wait for the boat, there is an hot spring nearby. You can take a bath for free, just ask the worker at the landing place. Boat trip take 2 hrs.  The scenery along the Ming river is enjoyable, people plant the lotus leaves in the river which dot the river with many pools of green. The fish lay their egg on the root, then the fisherman collect it back to grow in their own pool. There are no road along the Ming river, the public boat for locals will come down early in the morning to Ningming, and back up at 1-2pm. By that time you will see that all the boat are full of people with their purchases from the city.

 

Chongzuo by Tam Chiwai

Comments ? A nice little town build around the Zuo river, good family atmosphere and a night market for food.  Gui Long tower is one of the 8 leaning tower in the world.

How to reach ? Many buses from Ningming come here or you can come by train, 09:00 & 14:00, take 1 hr.

Where to stay ? Xan Jiang hotel (??) just outside the train station on your right, RMB 25/room with bath.

What to see ? 
- Gui Long tower is about 2km from town. From the main road outside the hotel, turn right, walk along the road & keep to you left. Once you come to a bridge don't cross) keep on further on the dirt road until you pass a small village & the tower will be in sight. Actually you can't get to the tower from here since there is a river in between, but the view on this side is good. If you spot some boat on the river, give them a shout, they can take you over & after take you all the way back to town with RMB 10 out from your pocket.  But how to get to the river to catch the boat…? Cross the field & down all the way is what I did! there is no road).  The tower was build around year 1621, 28m tall with 5 storeys, about 5m in diameter. The whole tower leaning out about 1m in distance. Legend said there was a monster in the river which capsized a lot of boat and killed many people, so they build this tower to subjugate the monster. The tower is leaning at an angle 4.26'46" to the west, on purpose, facing the on coming water flow. For sure, it was according to their calculation. Sitting on this small hill, looking at the lovely scenery & gentle river, it's hard to imagine how this river could kill so many life long time ago. Heard that some people still come here to dig up the treasure underneath the water. You can also come to the tower by tuk tuk from another way. Entrance fee RMB 2.
- 6km outside town is a stone forest park, about 1000 acre in area, many strange looking rock, stone, cave, hole,... A good place for a quiet day out.
- Less than 1km on the way to the leaning tower, there is a small hill on your left. You will see a long long staircase, 337 steps all the way to the top. Worth it. Panoramic view to the whole town and good place for sun rise and sun set.

Backpacker's Tips :  Mark Rowlatt, UK (Dec 03)
« The leaning tower is not actually on the river but on a lake fed by it. If you want to walk to it, good luck!! About half of the locals I asked directions of didn't know what I was talking about &, of the half that did, half of them didn't know how to get there!! It's a good hour first north down Xinmen Lu past the market. Just after a big, round, white building, you climb steps up to an overhead bridge & turn right. Follow this road over the river for about 1km into Taipeng Lu past a small park on your right, then turn left & immediately right at the junction at the end of the road. At the next junction, just after passing a big billboard on the right with a picture of the leaniing tower on it, you bear right past a petrol station. From here, it's 2kms to the 89km stone where a blue signpost points you right 1km down a dirt road to the tower.»

 

Daxin by Tam Chiwai

Comments ? the reason to come here is on the way to Petian Waterfall but they have also an old city wall which date back to year 1501. If you don't want to stay here, you can take a bus to Xi Long (??), where you can catch a tuk tuk to Detian but you will need to start early from Chongzuo.

How to reach ? many bus come here from Chongzuo, RMB 9 for 70km, it take 2hrs.

Where to stay ? Xan Do hotel (??) RMB 25/room, out from the bus station & turn left for 300m.

 

Detian by Tam Chiwai

Comments ? a very little border village with a beautiful waterfall.

How to reach ? one bus a day at 11:00 from Daxin, RMB 10 or you can take bus to Xi Long.

Where to stay ? There are only 2 places to stay in Detian, either a resort RMB 100/bed or a local guest house RMB 25/bed. Tell the driver you want to stay at Gong Lu Zhaodaisuo.

The waterfall ? From the GH walk up the only road a little bit, you will come to an entrance ( where the resort locate). Entrance fee to the fall is RMB 30. The waterfall is separate into 3 states, the total height is 60m, 70m depth & 200m wide. They said it's the biggest cross- country waterfall in Asia (so what ?) You can swim in the big pool underneath the fall. Also some bamboo raft  that you can hire to take you over to Vietnam but don't go too further inland...

Tip ? Try to eat early at night, the shop close up by 19:00, after that, the only place for food is inside the resort.

 

Xilong by Tam Chiwai

Comments ? a small village where you can stay instead of Detian. 

How to reach ? Only 14km from Detian. You can walk all the way along the river between Vietnam or take a tuk tuk for RMB 5 ( take 15mins)

Where to stay ? No bus station here, bus stop right at the market place, walk a little further, after a school on your right is a guest house, very basic, RMB 15/bed.

Market ? Every 2,5 & 8 date on Chinese calendar is market day.

What to see ?  Out from the GH to the left about 300m, a staircase on your right will lead you up the lonely hill ( ??) where you can view the village. In fact this hill was an army post during the time China had a conflict with Vietnam. You will find a big cave where soldier were stationed. A stove for cooking is still there. Also if look closely around the area, you might locate some stone military watch post on top of some hill with cannon hole on the wall.


Continue the journey to Yunnan Province (select "South-East")